How Age and Prolonged Sitting Can Effect Spine Stiffness, Postures and Discomfort

Recent research by Gruevski K and Callaghan J, and published in Ergonomics on 19th April 2019, looked at the effect of age and sex on passive spine stiffness, postures and discomfort in response to seated work.

They noted that understanding age-specific postures and pain development patterns during sitting exposures are particularly relevant given the ageing working population in industrialised nations.

Participants were in their Late 20s to early 30s or early 60’s were asked to sit continuously for 90 min while typing. Their results showed that older adults had higher passive spine stiffness and sat with less flexion during prolonged sitting. Discomfort was higher among older adults and occurred earlier in the simulation compared to younger participants, indicating that interventions, such as walking breaks may need to be implemented earlier during sitting for aged workers.

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